By @SimonCocking Interesting interview with  Bernard Flynn from Katawave We help organisations grow. We show them what they can’t see. We show them how to disrupt and how they may be disrupted. This enables new growth and change.

What is your background?

I am a Lean Optimisation and Innovation Pioneer. At 23, I founded my first company specialising in Lean Optimisation when this principle was in its infancy globally. Since then, I  founded and developed a number of strategy, supply chain, optimisation and innovation companies. Currently I am pioneering the concept of business imagination.

Was it a logical progression to what you do now?

Working as a lean optimisation advisor to large corporations, I observed that a lot of these companies were at the top of their developmental curves, competing on price with a “me too” offering. This meant that client companies were ripe for disruption.

The question I constantly asked himself was how to make these companies smarter so they could survive disruption. I felt even if a company was at peak optimisation it would fail unless its products or services were desirable and resonated in the market.

At this point, after a successful exit, I invested in a team of psychologists, sociologists and innovation architects to solve the question “How can we make companies smarter?” We asked a few fundamental questions around how to help companies be relevant, resilient, and resonate with the marketplace. Then we set about the idea of working with companies to help them to reimagine their businesses, Katawave: The Business Imagination Studio was born.

The questions we asked were simple…

What if we could develop a systematic methodology that could:

  • Understand and exploit how things are changing and why – technologies, business models, strategies, experiences.
  • Understand and exploit how people are changing and why – as consumers and workers and how technology is enabling them.
  • Systematically map how evolved a business model, product or service is.
  • Measure how evolved the competition is.
  • Identify the innovation white space and solutions to address this.
  • Create new business concepts for significant revenue and growth opportunities.
  • Help companies to re-imagine their future.


What tech trends are you excited about?

I’m a huge advocate of Augmented Reality, AR use in big corporates could revolutionise workflows and spawn new business models and practices. Katawave is in the process of developing an AR and AI lab in US.

What tips would you give to startups?

It is all about sales, taking risks and failing quickly and inexpensively. Don’t bring in investment you don’t absolutely need. Bear in mind that what you start doing may not be what you end up with, so having less investors makes it easier to change plan should you need to.

With hindsight, is there anything you might have done differently?

I could have brought in the right investors earlier, which might have lead to better businesses.

I have realised you can’t change people, so you need to learn to value their attributes. In a sporting analogy, you need to play the right people in the right position.

Having a strong financial controller in your businesses is essential.

Always talk straight, remove the corporate language and get to the hub of a problem quickly.

What motivates you, what makes you carry all this risk, even when you don’t need to?

I think there is a huge need for big corporates to reimagine their business. I could have kept going leaning out companies and making them more efficient, but I wanted them to succeed not just survive. Finally, the world of business needs to embrace the global trend away from a world of capitalism and the collaborative aspects of today’s society.

Katawave Reimagines Business.

Katawave are a Business Imagination Studio who work globally with clients to co-create imaginative new strategies, propositions and experiences. Katawave, is the first of it’s kind, a business imagination studio – born from the realisation that leaders need a new way to view the world as it actually is and to imagine the world as it could be. Katawave have developed an approach to achieve this. This approach is built on a fool-proof way to think disruptively, access deep patterns and a place in which to imagine the near and far.

We continue to evolve our approach as we work with leading Global organisations across all sectors.

We believe that understanding and exploiting flow is the next competitive advantage.

We believe that, in many instances, organisations are resisting the underlying flow, not harnessing it, and as a result the next big thing is missed.

We believe that the journey is as important as the destination and a valuable engagement should evoke a real emotional connection.

We work with our client partners to reimagine Corporate, Business unit or Product Strategies that are not obvious, and create real long term sustainable advantage.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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